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There's no containing the first Alien-inspired short, a one-act play of sci-fi horror

By Josh Weiss
Alien: Containment Gaia Weiss

Game over, man! Game over!

This afternoon, IGN released the first Alien short, sub-titled Containment, which kicks off the franchise's 40th birhday celebration. Produced in partnership with Tongal, the short film is one of six to be released over the next few weeks.

Helmed by Somnus writer, Chris Reading, Containment opens in true Alien fashion, with a spaceship floating along in the vastness of space.

Text across the screen tells us that the vessel, which seems to be in the atmosphere of Saturn (or some kind of ringed planet), is the colonial ship "Borrowdale," which has over 23,000 souls aboard it. The ship promptly explodes, however, leaving us with just four survivors in an escape pod, who begin to mistrust one another in the wake of some kind of breakout, which, as we all know, involves gaping chest holes.

Watch the full short below:

Containment, which plays out like a one-act play of sci-fi horror, stars Gaia Weiss (Vikings), Theo Barklem Biggs (Kingsman: The Secret Service), Sharon Duncan Brewster (Rogue One), and Adam Loxley (My Cousin Rachel).

While there's plenty of blood and gore, there's very little Xenomorph to be seen here, glimpsed only in flashes as it scurries around the room. That's probably a good thing because it hearkens back to the 1979 original when we barely got see the creature as it picked off the Nostromo's crew members one-by-one. 

We also don't know how the Borrowdale came into possession of Xenomorph eggs, but once one person was infected, the species spread throughout the entire vessel. Interestingly, Brewster's character, Albrecht (is she an android?), seems to add something new to the Alien canon/mythos, which is that the alien "disease" somehow affects a person's memory. Whatever that means, we don't have much of an idea, but it's an intriguing concept that could be built on in the future shorts.

The first four shorts screened at Emerald City Comic Con, while the final two (helmed by female directors) will screen at WonderCon in Anaheim this weekend. After that, IGN will continue to release one short a week for the next five weeks in the run-up to the brand's 40th birthday on May 25. Alien: AloneAlien: HarvestAlien: Night ShiftAlien: Ore, and Alien: Specimen are the names of the five remaining movies.

"Our partners at 20th Century Fox took an iconic franchise and handed it over to a new generation of storytellers to make its mark," Tongal Co-Founder and CEO James DeJulio exclusively told SYFY WIRE a few weeks ago. "And we were all blown away by the results. At Tongal, we're all about connecting up-and-coming filmmakers to opportunity, and they worked passionately to bring this one to life. But I can't say we were surprised because, after all, fans are the ultimate storytellers."